yogananda benefits of fasting, benefits of fasting yogananda, yogananda master cleanse, yogananda 9 day dietI’m feeling better today. I fasted yesterday, in part to help clear out some respiratory congestion I’ve had since we got back from India a few days ago. For this particular purpose, I did a fast called the “Master Cleanse,” in which you drink a “lemonade” consisting of lemon juice, Grade B maple syrup, and a little cayenne powder, diluted with water. Occasionally Devi and I will do Paramhansa Yogananda’s marvelous Nine-Day Cleansing and Vitalizing Diet, which consists of lots of citrus, raw vegetables, a daily steamed vegetable, and a special “vitality beverage.”

I noticed during our trips to India that fasting is much more common there. We often encountered people who declined food at social gatherings, saying simply, “Today is my fast day.” Fasting is also done for religious reasons. India’s president, Narendra Modi, continued his annual nine-day “Navratri” fast even during his historic trip to America. This annual honoring of Divine Mother, and the triumph of good over evil, must have caused some head scratching during the state dinners.

It is now common medical knowledge that there are many important physical benefits to fasting. Among other things it detoxifies the cells, strengthens the immune system, controls blood sugar, and improves dietary habits. People also commonly use fasting to lose weight. The physical benefits are actually secondary, however, to the psychological and spiritual advantages.

Psychological benefits of fasting include strengthening one’s will power and resetting poor eating habits, which seem to accumulate like burrs when we walk without awareness through life’s fields. When we fast, we strongly declare, “I am in control here once again.”

But the most important reasons for fasting are spiritual. Paramhansa Yogananda recommended that we fast one day per week and three days per month. He said fasting was one way to increase our spiritual magnetism, which he defined as “the power of the soul to attract or create whatever it needs for all-around happiness and well-being.” Here are some other of his statements about the spiritual benefits of fasting:

“You, the soul, are far more than the perishable body of flesh. In fasting you discover that it is the cosmic energy, or prana, in the body that actually sustains you. Jesus pointed this out when he said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ The ‘mouth of God’ is the subtle center in the medulla through which divine life energy, the ‘Word,’ flows into the body from its cosmic source.”

“Fasting cleanses your blood and gives rest to your organs; a revitalized energy begins to flow through your eyes and hands and feet. Thus, when you are fasting you can transmit more healing energy to others when praying for them. As soon as you begin to realize you are living on cosmic energy and not on gross substances your body becomes magnetic.”

As I said, I’m feeling much better after my day of fasting, and I don’t mean only physically.

In joy,
Nayaswami Jyotish


  1. Jyotish,
    I feel like a complete ignoramus to have to ask this question, but when you say fasting, do you mean to drink only liquids, all liquids, only water, is tea okay what about tea with milk?
    Thank you for these posts. joy and blessings to all,

    1. Pat, it is really up to you. You can be quite flexible and still get the benefits. Many people prefer just a water fast or water with a little lemon juice. Yogananda often recommended fasting on orange juice. Some people who are used to drinking tea or coffee won’t fast because they get caffeine headaches. It is better, then, to go ahead and drink a cup and still fast, although ultimately we should be free from such needs or attachments. Fast in whatever way it works for you and the process of fasting itself will lead you to beneficial changes.

  2. Cleansing is such a great way to clear the body, mind, and emotions making it easier to dive more deeply and calmly into meditation.
    If you are interested in learning more about Yogananda’s marvelous Nine-Day Cleansing and Vitalizing Diet, you can join the online course How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality:
    The course includes written explanations, instructional videos, an online forum, and affirmations for the cleanse plus lots of other tips on how to live a healthy and happy lifestyle.
    If you want group support while participating in the cleanse, I will be guiding the first three days of the cleanse April 10-13, 2015. Many people continue on for the full nine days and can support each other through the online forum.

  3. Dear Ji
    Thanks for sharing,in our Home Ladies do fasting for religious purpose, I am going to follow the fasting ,for the spiritual benefit as explained.
    With Gratitude
    R Sundararajan

  4. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
    Thank you for the article :)
    When I skip a meal or two, i feel down and i get a headache mostly. Can we just take Orange juice as suggested by Master and how much in quantity should we take that.
    How should we start the next day , since the previous day the stomach is almost empty ?
    Is there a specific day on a week that fasting is suggested for
    Thank you

  5. Dear Jyotish,
    “fast or slow”,
    happy to know,
    you’re feeling better,
    continue to glow!
    ~~~Peace, Josette

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